Sustainable water utilization on Ontario dairy farms

Robinson, Alexandra
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University of Guelph

Water-use as well as sustainable water practices and technologies on 17 Ontario dairy operations were studied over 20 months using continuous flow DLJ Water Meters to measure water-use in the dairy facilities including cow consumption, milkhouse and parlour usage with the goal of quantifying and assessing the amount of water utilized on an Ontario dairy farm. The producers were interviewed regarding their stance on water-use on their own operations as well as throughout the industry with the goal of gauging producers’ opinions and motivations behind water utilization as well as future environmental and industry sustainability. Average water-use for an Ontario free stall automated milking operation was found to be significantly greater than the average water usage for an Ontario free stall parlour operation or tie stall operation. However, producers of free stall operations were found to be more willing and more likely to implement sustainable water-use strategies without government incentive.

sustainability, dairy, water